How Broncos Win: Stopping Lions WR Kenny Golladay
The Detroit Lions are mostly a mess on both sides of the football right now, but at the wide receiver position, the Motor City franchise is still stacked and producing at a high level.
Marvin Jones, Jr. appears to be the name fans mention first, while Danny Amendola still has his believers across the league.
Kenny Golladay should be the name people start to take notice of, though. He’s emerging as a legitimate No. 1 receiver.
Despite standing 6-foot-4, Golladay is a serious home run threat in today’s NFL. He’s a good route runner that is very good at getting free releases off of the line of scrimmage, plays well through contact and has soft hands.
It’s imperative the Broncos don’t let Golladay slip behind the secondary on Sunday.
I’m not sure what exactly Chicago cornerback Prince Amukamara is doing here, but he can’t have his eyes locked into the backfield and lose track of Golladay.
That’s as easy of a throw rookie David Blough will make in his career, but credit to Golladay for extending the route vertically, leading to the easiest 75-yard touchdown you’ll see.
When it’s not that easy for Golladay, he still comes up big.
Look at the explosiveness in and out of his cuts, and his ability to jump back inside on the vertical route, creating enough space for Blough to put it on him between two defenders.
He’s so fluid for a receiver of his size, which is so impressive.
He has the ability to play through contact like Calvin Johnson once did, but he’s also dangerous as a route runner, a little bit like Braylon Edwards once was.
Playing Through Contact
His frame is a bit slender, but man is Golladay strong as an ox as a route runner.
This ended getting flagged for defensive holding by Minnesota cornerback Trae Waynes, but the holding simply didn’t affect Golladay.
He runs right through the contact and has the ability to tap both feet down for the catch along the sideline. It’s great for Blough to have a receiver like Golladay, because any sliver of separation allows the QB to give his physically freakish wideout a chance to make a play.
Finding the Soft Spot in the Zone
Watching the Thanksgiving Day game against the Bears, it was puzzling to watch Chicago’s defense give free releases to Golladay and let him run free against zone coverage. Unsurprisingly, that led to some huge catches for Golladay.
This play takes a long time to develop, and not only that there appears to be no communication for the Bears’ defense. Golladay easily works his way into the middle of Chicago’s zone, well behind linebacker Roquan Smith, resulting in a big completion from Blough.
This can’t happen on Sunday.
While Golladay is known for his homerun catches, he’s actually quite the possession receiver for the Lions.
Yes, he’s averaging 18.8 yards per catch, but with his ability to work open thanks to his route running and his sure hands, he’s been able to thrive as a possession receiver when asked to do just that.
This is just a simple in route, but he’s able to force the cornerback to backpedal early due to the deep-threat ability, allowing him to burst inside for the easy pitch and catch.
How the Broncos Stop Golladay
There’s really not a set way to stop Golladay at the matchup level, so the Broncos must focus on getting as much heat on Blough as possible on Sunday. Detroit has a ton of routes for Golladay that take time to develop, so getting as much heat on Blough quickly will go a long way towards taking away those long completions.